Tar Babies - avoid them like plague

There are human tar babies out there, and I suggest you avoid them like plague, lest you get mired in their financial irresponsibility. I've known several of these type of individuals, and they're no fun to be around.

Some just don't get it financially, and some understand only too well how to manipulate others for their own financial gain. Either way, the best thing to do is shut them down, turn them off and walk away.

Let me give a few examples that show how these people operate.

These are real examples from people I've known.

  • One man about 40 years old lives in a house that his parents purchased for him. It was the only way they could see to get him out of their house. I see this man occasionally in the grocery store. His elderly father is buying groceries for him.

    If he can't pay for his own groceries, you can bet he isn't paying for the house either. He is still dependent upon his parents for financial support.

    He's a great and happy guy. He does things to keep himself busy and make a little bit of money, but he has never been able to stand on his own two feet. Why should he? His parents continue to enable him to be financially irresponsible.

    He's one of the human tar babies, yet his parents just can't bring themselves to require their son to stand on his own two feet. They're crippling him, and he's enjoying the free ride.

    In my view, the parents are getting exactly what they deserve.

  • A former neighbor of mine hurt himself at work, and hurt himself in a car accident. For many months he didn't work because of his injuries. I asked him how he could afford to pay the rent with no income. He said "I have parents that love me." For me, that translated to parents who were supporting him.

    One day I noticed that the house was rented to someone else and my former neighbor had moved out of state. My conclusion was simply that his parents finally did the right thing and cut him off financially.

    They recognized their son as one of the human tar babies, and they turned their back on him. Good for them. It was the right thing to do.

  • In my last example, there is a man who lost his job and withdrew his meager savings and retirement account to last long enough (about two months) on his own before getting his first unemployment check. Members of his family offered to take him in, which he accepted, but then almost immediately regretted the decision.

    They know he is one of the human tar babies.

    After a rocky episode or two with family members, he went to move in with his brother. His comments about this move centered on how "shitty" his brother had been to him the last time he had to stay with him. Through his tears there were visions of migraine headaches, restrictive living conditions and arguments.

    I won't tell you the names of these brothers, but Pete and Repeat come to mind. Can you see a pattern here? I sure do. One brother acted as the reluctant "safety net" in the past and is doing so again. This should be no surprise to anyone.

I know we're all supposed to be of a kind heart. We're supposed to be sensitive, thoughtful and have compassion for others and realize that not everyone is as fortunate as ourselves.

That's a good way to be, but we also need to realize that there are many folks out there who know how to scam the system and take advantage of the good heart of others.

When helping others has the potential to hurt - both us and them - then it's time to do some rethinking. Are we helping or enabling? Is this behavior the exception or the rule. Are we assisting another or leading them into a crippling dependence?

There is only so much guilt you can pile on top of yourself for not wanting to help others who just can't seem to help themselves. After a while you need to look to where the blame really belongs.

Some people need help every now and then, but we need to realize that we're all different and our lives will all be very different because of it. It's not anyone's responsibility to make certain that everyone else has the same level of success or standard of living.

And, most importantly, it's your personal responsibility to recognize when you're helping and when you're being scammed, misled, manipulated, taken advantage of, played, duped and abused by the many and varied human tar babies that live among us.

You have your own life to live, and that is your first and foremost responsibility. If by helping others you won't be alright yourself, then what business do you have helping in the first place?

Don't get wrapped up in other people's madness. Don't take on their problems. Keep your distance from the tar babies out there whose primary mission is to latch onto others. Like a drowning man, they'll pull you under without a thought.

Done with Tar Babies, back to Money Saving Ideas

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.